Tutorials, Tips and Tricks!

Discussion in 'The Graphics Zone' started by w/e, May 13, 2006.

  1. w/e

    w/e Boaroceraptorasaurus-Rex

    +264 / 0 / -0

    First of all, you should know what a sig is. Just in case:

    A sig is short for signature. A signature is a unique sign that people create to identify themselves. Designed to prove the person made contact with whatever the signature is on, nobody is supposed to be able to copy the signature of another person. Traditionally, like on letters and legal documents, the signature is handwritten. However, for online forums, or (sometimes) personal websites, the signature is an image. This type of signature is more for show because it can be easily copied. It is used either, to show your graphical skill, or to yourself faster. Avatars also serve a common purpose.

    Making A Signature:

    To make a signature, you need an image editing program. One of the most common programs is photoshop. However, photoshop is expensive and many people use programs such as The Gimp instead. To learn where to obtain these programs, please visit the graphics links thread in the graphics help zone.

    Graphics Links Thread - http://www.thehelper.net/forums/showthread.php?t=51277

    Signature Dimensions:

    Dimensions are how big signatures are. There really should be any signature over 500x200 and no signature under 200x70. My preffered dimensions are 400x120. (All of the listed dimensions are in pixels)

    What A Signature Contains:

    The main attraction in a signature are renders. To find out more about renders, see my renders tutorial below.The render should be in the middle or taking up most of the space in a sig. To find out where to get renders,visit the graphics links thread mentioned above.

    Text in a render is not supposed to be big. It is only there to clarify the person as to who the signature belongs to. The render is supposed to be 5x more noticeable then the sig. People want to know who made the sig.if they like it. They don't want to be scrolling down a forum and then get slammed in the face with a huge logo that says MADE BY SOME GUY with some barely visible render in the background.

    Signature Backgrounds:

    The background of a signature is what is behind the render. To make a background, you can slap a couple render duplicates on there, filter them beyond recognition, and call it a background. But hey, at least the colors match. Along with that, brushes play a huge roll in signature-making. Brushes are also supposed to be unrecognizable in the sigs they are in. For links on where to get brushes, visit my graphics links thread. To learn how to use brushes, scroll down to my Configuring Brushes tutorial. Or click the link below. Patterns are also, commonly used in backgrounds. To learn how to make a patter, scroll down to my patterns tutorial or click the link below. To see some examples of patterns, visit my photobucket album or click the link below.

    Configuring Brushes - http://www.thehelper.net/forums/showpost.php?p=228976&postcount=3
    Patterns - http://www.thehelper.net/forums/showpost.php?p=224930&postcount=2
    Photobucket Album - http://s51.photobucket.com/albums/f382/spymercinator/Graphics/Signitures/My Signitures/


    A border is what separates your signature and the forum background you happen to be using it one. The border I most commonly use is a one pixel border on the very edge of the signature. Another commonly used border is a 5 pixel black border on the top and bottom edges, but nothing on the sides. I personally don't like that one much, but it's up to you. Here's a tutorial on how to make a simple 1 px border:

    Border Tutorial - http://www.thehelper.net/forums/showpost.php?p=339379&postcount=4


    Fonts are usually the main attraction in newbie signatures. Just because there are cool fonts out there, doesn't mean they have to 50 size on in the middle of your sig. Lately, I have been favoring simple fonts because I usually have more that one text layer and like to put them close together.

    Example 1 - http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f382/spymercinator/Graphics/Signitures/My Signitures/Samus.jpg
    Example 2 - http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f382/spymercinator/Graphics/Signitures/My Signitures/Halo2.jpg
    Example 3 - http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f382/spymercinator/Graphics/Signitures/My Signitures/GoW.jpg

    Notice how the text is close together and aligned with one another. (Except the Saumus one). Here is an example of some bad text:

    Example 4 - http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f...hics/Signitures/Practice Signitures/Ryoko.png

    If you want some sweet fonts, you can go see some links in the graphics links thread. To learn how to use fonts, scroll down to my fonts tutorial or click this link:

    Fonts Tutorial - http://www.thehelper.net/forums/showpost.php?p=235701&postcount=4

    Practice Makes Perfect:

    There are many ways to learn how to make good sigs. Get a tutor. Online tutorials help too. But mostly, look around for ideas in some render forum such as gamerenders.com. The guys there have some amazing sigs that helped me see the error of my ways.

    GameRenders - http://www.gamerenders.com/forum/

    Do whatever you want to your sigs. After all, they are your sigs. Take advice from other people and practice a lot. Your sigs will get better and better over time. I'm living proof:

    My First Sig - http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f...ignitures/Other Signitures/MercChRiSwithB.jpg
    My Latest Sig - http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f382/spymercinator/Graphics/Signitures/My Signitures/Samus.jpg

    Hope I helped
    • Like Like x 3
  2. w/e

    w/e Boaroceraptorasaurus-Rex

    +264 / 0 / -0
    Grid Tutorial

    Making a pattern:

    For lack of a simpler pattern, we will make a grid.
    What is a grid?
    A grid is a simple design used in photoshop. It looks like this:
    To do this, you need to have the following program:
    Photoshop CS (Indefinite versions)
    A grid is a pattern. A pattern is a small chunk on which the design is drawn. The design is repeated over and over with
    the cone stamp tool.

    How do I make this grid?

    Open photoshop. Create a new document that is 20 by 20 pixels with transparent background content. Select the entire left
    row vertically and the entire bottom row horizontally. Paint the selection black. Diselect anything. (To diselect, press
    Ctrl + D). Then, go to edit on the toolbar and go to Edit > Define Pattern. Then save your patternt as Grid001.

    How do I use the grid?

    To use the grid, click and hold the clone stamp tool on the main toolbar. A menu should have appeared. Click on the clone
    pattern tool. And then, on the top toolbar, there is a set pattern. If you click on the arrow next to it, there will be a
    set of patterns. Click on the one titled Grid001. And then choose your brush size and paint away. A grid should be
    appearing wherever you brush. Your picture should now look like this:

    How do I make the grid....softer?
    In signatures, you usually need to make the grid transparent. You have to make it look like this:
    What you have to do is click on the eraser tool. Make the brush an appropriate size. Make the opacity 15-20%. And make the
    hardness 0%. To configure the size, hardness, and opacity of the brush, left click anywhere on the canvas. A menu should
    appear with the options you need. So erase away! Eventually, your grid will look like the one above. An example of a sig
    using this kind of grid:
    Remember, you can make the grid any other color or any other size. And you can also make other patterns with this technique.

    A good download link for patterns is:


    To apply the pattern into photoshop you have to open two directories:
    The directory in which you downloaded the pattern and (DRIVE)>Program Files>Adobe>Photoshop (version)>Presets>Patterns. Make sure all you have in the dl directory are the .pat file(s). Then drag them into the pattern directory. Congrats, you now have the pattern installed in photoshop.
  3. w/e

    w/e Boaroceraptorasaurus-Rex

    +264 / 0 / -0
    Configuring Brushes

    A brush is what you paint with in photoshop. The tool is located here:


    To configure a brush, right click anywhere on the canvas when you have the brush tool selected. A menu like this should appear:


    1:The menu of brush sets that you choose from. Brush sets are aquired from downloaded brushes. You can go here for some good sets.
    2: How large you want the brush to be.
    3: how obvious you want the brush to be.
    4: Puts the selected brush into your preset.
    5: Brushes in the selected set. The border darkened box is the current brush selected. The number at the bottom of each brush is the size of the brush in pixels.

    The brush configuration menu also pops up with the following tools:

    Pattern stamp tool
    Clone stamp tool
    Brush tool
    Pencil tool
    History brush tool
    Art history brush tool
    Sponge tool
    Burn tool
    Dodge tool
    Burn tool

    Sharpen tool
    Smudge tool

    Remember that brush layers can be modified with opacity (transparency).

    To get a brush to work you have to extract the brushes (if in a .zip or .rar file). Then you need to put all of the abr files in (DRIVE)>Program Files>Adobe>Photoshop (version)>Presets>Brushes.
  4. w/e

    w/e Boaroceraptorasaurus-Rex

    +264 / 0 / -0
    Fonts. (All about them and where to get them)


    What is a font?

    A font is a series of pictures that look like letters and are programmed to the keyboard.

    Where can I get fonts?
    You can get them in various sites. A few popular ones are:


    If you can't find them on there or are looking for a specific font:


    How can I make fonts?

    You need Macromedia Fontographer:


    And a good EPS program.

    Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.

    How do I apply fonts?
    I prefer bitstream font navigator (Which comes with the CorelDRAW X3 Graphics Suite), but most of you don't have it.

    You have to download the font. Then you have to open the directory in which you downloaded it and Control Panel>Fonts. Or (DRIVE)>Windows>Fonts. In the download directory, drag the .ttf file(s) into the font directory. Congrats, you have now put those font sin every program on your computer.

    Remember to make a backup of your fonts, before installing them!!!
  5. -fool-

    -fool- Guest

    +0 / 0 / -0
    How to make cool stuff that looks like its really hard but its actually really easy

    this is the only photoshop trick i know.
    Make a new image with a white background. You can do any size. This example will be 500 x 500, but i usually use this to make backgrounds (ill show later one I made thats 1280 x 1024)

    Ok so with the blank canvas select the gradient tool. Then set the mode to difference. For this im just going to use linear gradients, but you can use any. The radial doesnt look too good, and the angle one makes defined lines that stay there (which can be good ill show later).

    I just did a bunch of random clicks.

    Then go to Filter -> Stylize -> Find Edges
    Thats what it looks like. Some of these can look pretty good just from that.
    This is where the tutorial can go many ways. Sometimes I stop here and go on to coloring, other times I do another step then go coloring. So this next step is optional: Invert the colors. (ctrl + i).

    it looks pretty cool inverted also, but im going to keep it the other way.
    From there, you pretty much can change everything under Image -> Adjustments

    color balance is a cool place to start

    then i messed around with the 'levels'

    and i ended up with an OK looking picture.

    that one is a desktop i made (1280 x 1024)

    this is also a desktop 1024 x 768 that uses the angle gradient. you can see the red lines are there

    and thats another 1280 x 1024 desktop
    you can add in your own stuff and do different to the images to make them better.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. w/e

    w/e Boaroceraptorasaurus-Rex

    +264 / 0 / -0

    What is a render?

    A render is a 3D object shown in full form. It is now commonly misplaced with the word cutout. Renders can be anything. Cars, people, trees, buildings, etc.
    A cutout is a object cut out of a picture/render.

    How do I make a cutout?

    To make cutouts, you most commonly use this tool:


    It's called the polygonal lasso. When you click, you get the chance to outline an object. Every time you click, a line is drawn from where you last clicked to where you now clicked.

    You can use an array of lassos by clicking and holding the lasso tool icon. A menu appears that should look like this:


    The lasso tool is a click and hold free selector tool. I don't recommend using this. It's very hard to navigate and frustrating. There is also the magnetic lasso which automatically traces the differnece of pixel color. You can adjust the tolorance between pixel differneces.

    Then there is the magic wand tool:


    It is most commonly used where there is a monochromatic background. You can slect the bacground and then inverse the selection (Ctrl + Shift + I, or Right click + Selection inverse) to select the object (if any) inside the background. This tool is useful for cutting out renders plaaced on a white or black background such as the renders on http://www.clantemplates.com/ .
    The blue boxed area is the place where you adjust tolerance.

    You can also use the border erase method. I though of this myself. You should use this for mega quality cuts that you absolutely need to be perfect. You take an eraser. Make it one pixel. And make it full hardness. You do this by configuring the brushes.


    My advice is to have a circular, 1-pixel eraser brush with 100 % opacity and 100 % hardness. You then erase the outline of the render. Of course you need to be insanely zoomed in. You could do that or use the polygonal lasso tool to select it. Or even the free hand lasso. (not recommended).

    How do I make a render smaller/bigger?

    You're going to need to scale down renders. No doubt. To scale down a render, open the .png/.psd file and go to the top toolbar that says Image. Than go to image size. A menu like this should pop up.


    There are two boxes. Dimensions and Document Size. Document size takes all of the layers and squishes them to how you configured the pixels/inches/cm/mm/points/picas/columns. It just squishes it without keeping the proportions. If you check the box labeled "scale proportions" A link will appear between the pixels/inches/cm/mm/points/picas/columns boxes and if you enter a number on one of the boxes, it will automatically configure the other. You should always use this instead of the regular scaling tool which is Ctrl + T. If you do use the scaling tool. To contain proportions while scaling, hold shift. To finish scaling, press enter.

    Where can I get renders?

    A good place to get renders is:


    Good luck with your rendering.
  7. Whitesock

    Whitesock Graphics Help Zone Moderator Staff Member

    +357 / 0 / -0
    Here is my tutorial on how to create a backround without brushes. This is very useful for making a signature (sig). This is for GIMP users. This is intended for people that know about the GIMP as well. This is my first tutorial so don't laugh too much. :)

    STEP 1- Get a render or some type of image you will be using. I use www.clantemplates.com for my renders, but other people use www.gamerenders.com which I hear has better quality renders.

    STEP 2- Create a new image. I used 600 x 150


    STEP 3- Take your image or render and do File -> Open as Layer.


    Step 4- Using the layers dialogue, duplicate your render a few times (for now on, I'm going to say render, but you can use something else too, like a photo or an image).

    STEP 5- Rotate your renders and fill up the entire space, but (optional) leave 1 un-rotated and hide it (click the eye to hide a layer) (you might need to size the render down some using Layer -> Scale layer).


    Step 6- Merge down all of the renders, but leave the un-rotated one alone.

    STEP 7- Do Filters -> Distorts -> Polar choords. Uncheck To Polar and put circle depth in percent to 0%.


    Step 8- Move the clump or render down if you need to and do Filters -> Distorts -> Ripple Period at 130 and Amplitude at 59 (these settings may need to be changed, depending on how large your image is or how much you covered it up with your render clump).


    Step 9- Almost time to get to the fun part! Go to Filters -> Noise -> Slur and set randomization to 50% and Repeat to 30 (this may change too, depending on cercomstances).

    Step 10- The fun part. Duplicate your slured render clump 4 times. There should be 5 render clumps now. Take the one on top and do Filters -> Blur -> Motion Blur. Set your blur type to zoom and length to 25.


    Step 11- Take the second from the top and go to Filters -> Artistic -> Olify and set the max size to 5.


    Step 12- Take the third from the top and do Filters -> Artistic -> Gimpressionist and under Presets select the Crosshatch. Click Apply and then click OK


    Step 13- Take the fourth from the top and do Filters -> Noise -> Pick and set Randomization to 50% and repeat to 20


    STEP 14- Apply these settings to the layers...

    Top- Mode: Addition
    2nd Top- Mode: Overlay 50% Opacity
    3rd Top-Addition
    4th Top-Burn
    5th Top-Normal


    Theres a non-brushed backround! You can do the next few steps if you want.

    Step 15 (OPTIONAL) - Un-hide your render and make sure everything is placed good. I made the backround layer black to better fit the colors, since I was a bad person and didn't fill the space completly.

    Step 16 (OPTIONAL) - Add text and a border and your done!


    Hope this helped everyone!
  8. Whitesock

    Whitesock Graphics Help Zone Moderator Staff Member

    +357 / 0 / -0
    How to cut out renders or images in The GIMP. Make sure you have an alpha channel on the backround! Check by right clicking the render layer and make sure add alpha channel is gray. If not, click it!

    Step 1- Get an image or render.

    Step 2- Open GIMP and ONLY GIMP, not photoshop, you guys can use your niffty polygonal lassos.

    Step 3- Click the QUICKMASK button (located on your bottom right)

    Step 4- The image should have a red screen over it. Next get out your toolbox and set BOTH colors to white.


    Step 5- Grab your paintbrush and start coloring on the quickmask the part you want to cut out. Zooming in is extremly helpful for this step. Usually x400 or x800 is what I use, depending on the size of the render or image.

    Helpful Hint!- Size 1 brush needs to be brushed over a few times to acually penetrate the quickmask completely. Most of the time a size 3 brush will do fine.

    Helpful Hint!- Thin stands of hair on a render of image of a face 1 pixel wide can be mostly avoided when brushing. It will be picked up when we feather the selection.

    Helpful Hint!- Holding down shift when burshing can make you draw in a straight line! Great for things that are, well, straight!

    Step 6- Make sure you have everything brushed down and make a double check. Trust me, you don't want to miss anything.

    Helpful Hint!- To remake an accident (going over the render or image's edge, mess-ups) set you colors to black and use the eraser to make more quickmask where you need it.


    Step 7- Click the quickmask button to turn the hole into a selection. Do Select -> Invert and then Select -> Save to channel. This will save your selection to a channel in case you realize a mistake (right click the channel and channel to selection)


    Step 8- Click your render layer to make it active and then do Select -> Feather with about a 5 pixel radius (The larger the number, the more blur. 5 pixels usually softens the edge without a big blur).

    Step 9- Do Edit -> Clear and you have a cut out render!! Use It in anything your mind desires!

    ^Finished Product^

    EDIT: Added a part at the top.
  9. alzidaney

    alzidaney Guest

    +0 / 0 / -0
    Userbar Tutorial


    Made by me! :)
    • Like Like x 1
  10. w/e

    w/e Boaroceraptorasaurus-Rex

    +264 / 0 / -0
    Very nice. Good job.
  11. Whitesock

    Whitesock Graphics Help Zone Moderator Staff Member

    +357 / 0 / -0
    I thought this was only for submitting tutorials, not conversing over them. :nuts:
  12. Whitesock

    Whitesock Graphics Help Zone Moderator Staff Member

    +357 / 0 / -0
    Tips and Tricks!

    This is for things that aren't tutorial length, but certaintly would help.

    Don't spam this thread!

    Please post tutorials in the tutorial section. This is for, as stated, short tips or tricks.

    Heres a few on borders...



    And they don't have to have images or be image tricks/tips either.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. sqrage

    sqrage Moderator Staff Member

    +508 / 0 / -0
    Stickied, Post all Tips and Tricks in here, everyone. ;)
  14. Whitesock

    Whitesock Graphics Help Zone Moderator Staff Member

    +357 / 0 / -0
    Thank you! I've been hoping I could get someone to sticky this.

    End of off topic. If you have any tips/tricks, now is the time to post em!
  15. alzidaney

    alzidaney Guest

    +0 / 0 / -0
    After Completing your sig, add a new layer at the top most of your sig..

    Press Ctrl+A or go to Select>All or you can click on the rectangular marquee
    and just select your whole piece.

    Make sure the current tool used is rectangular marquee and your whole work has
    been selected.

    Right click anywhere within the rectangle and go to Stroke.

    Type in 1 px and make sure its set to "Center" , "Normal Mode" , 100% opacity.

    Then choose your desired colour and click ok.

    You might not be able to see it very clearly but when you start using it in forums,
    it would be very clear.

    Of course, using a white border against a white background forum would be pointless.

    But on the other hand, do not use a colour that might suit that forum's background

    Make sure the colour suits your signature as well. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Jo.O

    Jo.O Bored...

    +70 / 0 / -0
    Easy Lightning - Photoshop CS2

    1. Create a new file, I used 500x500px. And hit D to reset colors.
    2. Go to Filter --> Render --> Clouds
    3. Go to Filter --> Render --> Difference Clouds.
    4. Hit Ctrl + I , to invert the colors. It should look like this:

    5. Hit Ctrl + L to adjust your images level. Set all the values to this:

    6. Now it almost looks like lightning. So, hit Ctrl + U , to edit the colors, I want blue lightning so i put my values like this:

    And finished:
  17. Whitesock

    Whitesock Graphics Help Zone Moderator Staff Member

    +357 / 0 / -0
    Making a simple border in GIMP.

    1. Create a new layer above the original

    2. Go to Select -> Select All

    3. Go to Select -> Shink and set it to desired border thickness (usually 1-3 will do fine)

    4. Set your forground or backround color to the desired border color

    5. Do Edit -> Fill with Forground/Backround color (depends on which 'ground' you set your color to)

    6. Bask in your borderness!

    GIMP and .xcf

    .xcf, GIMP's native file format will save layers, channels, selections, and pretty much everything else except the undo history (which has screwed me up a few times)
  18. Whitesock

    Whitesock Graphics Help Zone Moderator Staff Member

    +357 / 0 / -0
    Making a picture look "Ethereal".

    This tutorial will show you how to make this.


    STEP 1- Take your image with a separate layer for you object that you want to make look Ethereal.


    STEP 2- Duplicate your object layer (I'll call this one EL for Ethereal layer) And then do layer, scale layer. Move it so it looks like this.


    STEP 3- Desaturate your EL. (layer -> color -> desaturate)

    STEP 4- colorize it to the color you want it to be. (layer -> color -> colorize)

    STEP 5- set EL to 50% opacity.

    BONUS STEP- Add a layer mask, change the layer settings, or use a filter on it. The possibilities are endless!


    This tutorial was requested by Bboy_Vegeta.
  19. alzidaney

    alzidaney Guest

    +0 / 0 / -0
  20. Andrewgosu

    Andrewgosu The Silent Pandaren Helper Staff Member

    +711 / 0 / -0
    With this simple tehnique, you can edit your blurry or just plain photos to look professional.

    Firstly, load up photoshop and open your image.


    Then, make a duplicate layer of it and apply filter>other>high pass on it.


    Lastly, change the blending mode to soft light and adjust the brightness to -20 and contrast 20. (Image>adjust>brightness/contrast)


    As you can see, the image is clearly sharper and the colours have more depht. (For comparison, look the cathedrals main window. Which one is more sharper and has more colour depth?)

    • Like Like x 2

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